EAPO encourages everyone to join us, as we recognize Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) (October 24 – October 28, 2022). CPSW is a fantastic opportunity for communities to shine a spotlight on improvements in patient safety and the quality of care being provided.

For EAPO, it is an equally opportune time to bring greater awareness to the importance of starting those conversations with older adults, when we are concerned about them, wanting to help prevent elder abuse and ensuring everyone is treated with dignity, respect and able to live in a safe environment.

Why Recognize CPSW?

Everyone deserves safe care. However, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that care is not always provided equitably. Older adults faced systemic issues, including reduced staffing levels in care facilities coupled with poorly designed care programs. It is also true that care providers were and remain, under considerable strain, suffering from increased levels of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. The goal of CPSW is to eliminate these incidents of unintended harm and learn from the errors and shortfalls that transpired in the past.

Pressing Play on Safety Conversations

The theme for CPSW 2022 is ‘Press Play on Safety Conversations’focusing on how older adults can receive safer care. Having safety conversations can help change the way we think and act, when it comes to safety. We join CPSW in encouraging everyone to ask questions, listen, and act.

These conversations provide a starting point for care providers, patients, residents, clients, and essential care partners to come together and be heard- all measures that can lead to safer care. In other words, these respectful conversations will help promote a shift in culture, so that together we can gain a better understanding of how staff and patient safety can work.

The best part – ANYONE can partake in these conversations, including individuals organizing, delivering, seeking, or receiving care. This is the critical first step in building safe spaces that empower individuals to act and improve care.

What are Safety conversations?

While there is an expectation of safe care, a small proportion of people experience some type of unintended harm as a result of the care they receive. Healthcare providers want to work with you to change that. You’re a valuable source of information and an expert in your own care needs. You can help prevent harm by identifying risks, hazards and safety concerns that could otherwise remain undetected.

If you see, hear or feel something that is not right, it’s important that you speak up. Safety conversations are the best way to improve patient safety. They involve respectful discussions about safety between you and those who provide care, to you or your loved one. Read more on How to Have Safety Conversations.

Resources to Support Better Conversations

Sometimes it may be difficult to determine that abuse is taking place. Asking the right questions is the first step. Often neighbours, friends and family members are aware of the warning signs of elder abuse, but are simply unsure about what to do next. There are tools and resources to help you Start those Conversations with the older adult. The “It’s Not Right!” Neighbours, Friends and Families for Older Adults, encourages individuals to use a three-step conversation called SNCit (‘sink-it’), See it – Name it – Check it.

As well, EAPO has a number of Fact Sheets to guide individuals in How to Ask About Abuse. These include information like: sample conversations, how to respond when the older adult refuses help or what to do if you suspect the individual is in immediate danger and where to report. For more information about how to start these difficult conversations view EAPO’s factsheets.

Are you interested in learning more about engaging in safety conversations within your community? Visit Healthcare Excellence Canada, Canadian Patient Safety Week – Press Play on Safety Conversations  for helpful resources to help start your safety conversations! Please click on the resources links provided below: